Simpson Well and Pump still at it, 85 years later
By Jaime Angio Correspondent May 27, 2012 4:48PM
Sherman Simpson takes a break while working in 1940. | Supplied photo
For more information, visit www.simpsonwellandpump.com.
Updated: July 2, 2012 10:05AM
Family-owned businesses are all too familiar with risk taking and having to weather the ups and downs of the economy, both past and present.
When Simpson Well and Pump first started drilling wells for farm and residential areas in 1927, owner Sherman Simpson had to barter for work during the Depression. He would take customers’ currency in chicken and eggs.
The company’s first location was at 135th Street and High Road in Romeoville. Now, fast-forward to present day at 15341 W. New Ave. in Lockport, where Simpson Well and Pump calls home.
The phones are still answered by a Mrs. Simpson, it’s still run by a Mr. Simpson and it’s a business that’s still prosperous.
This year marks the company’s 85th anniversary in the well and pump business, and 59-year-old, third-generation owner Roger Simpson, of Homer Glen, is pretty certain he’s made his father, Kenneth, and grandfather, Sherman, very proud.
“It means that we’ve been somewhat successful and still in business for 85 years. We’ve tried to please our customers and the repeat business has been pretty good and has treated us pretty well,” he said.
Keeping the legacy going didn’t come without some trying times.
Sherman Simpson died in 1957, and Roger’s father, Kenneth, took over. In 1985, when Kenneth fell ill to cancer, Roger, who had been working two jobs for 18 years, realized some decisions needed to be made.
“A lot of people knew my dad was sick and people were asking me all the time what I was going to do,” he said. “I had invested so much time into it by that time, and I kept the customer base up at that time. I just couldn’t let it go.”
Roger worked at Commonwealth Edison and Texaco Oil Refinery. He also had worked with his father since he was a young boy, just like his father did with his grandfather.
Keeping the family business going was a risk.
“It was a little scary because back in those times in the ’80s, things weren’t real, real busy, and you have a certain standard of living you’re trying to maintain,” Roger said. “I quit my job working for Commonwealth Edison, and I went into a situation where I had to pay for my own benefits and things like that, so it took me a couple of years to really make up my mind.”
Kenneth Simpson died in 1987 and Roger took over.
With Roger’s years of experience he gained while working at the refineries, he made significant contributions, which now constitute about 60 percent of the business.
It’s no longer just well and pumps services — it’s water-conditioning treatment and purification.
“When I worked in the industry, I worked in instrumentation for almost 20 years and it was all on controls, which is what prompted me to go into the water-treatment side of this business,” he said. “It’s a little more high-tech, more computer-related, and it was an easy slide for me to pick up the water-treatment side, since that’s what I was trained in at the refineries.”
Simpson and his wife Pam have two daughters. Carrying on the “legacy” of Simpson Well and Pump is something Roger is looking into.
“There is a possibility one of the guys that works for me will take it over and I am also looking toward apprenticeship programs for younger kids,” he said. “Because this new day and age, the younger generation, there is not anybody pushing them to go into the trade. Everybody wants to work from a computer, but the world still has to have electricians and plumbers and well people.”